Companies and their owners are increasingly considering the risk
of criminal safety-related charges and fines.
We have recently reported on the criminal fine against Metron
Construction under the Bill C-45 amendments to the Criminal
The Ottawa Citizen and other media have reported that two
co-owners of a Belleville bar have been charged with the criminal
offence of wrongful act manslaughter.
The charges result from an incident in which an
employee drove away from the bar,
The Citizen reported that the employee left the Angry Beaver Bar
and Grill and was driving the wrong way in the eastbound lane of
Highway 401 near Trenton when she collided with an oncoming vehicle
on February 6, 2012. The employee and the other
driver were both pronounced dead at the scene.
The co-owners of the Angry Beaver bar were both charged with two
counts of manslaughter and six liquor licence violations, including
encouraging immoderate consumption, permitting drunkenness and
serving liquor to an apparently intoxicated person.
Media reports say that the bar's liquor licence was
permanently revoked by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
and the premises are now shuttered.
Apart from the obvious safety considerations raised by the
incident, and the sad consequences, this case shows that a failure
to comply with regulatory requirements can, in a worst-case
scenario, put a company out of business.
Employers should review their regulatory compliance processes
– in particular, in relation to safety – and
ensure that the risk of violations is minimized. A regulatory
breach can, as in this case, have tragic consequences that can, in
some cases, lead to criminal charges.
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